tv [untitled] December 4, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
and i want to see it happen in the right way with public input and with proper financing. finally, i want to answer one question that was raised earlier today by director brinkman, and that is comparing union square with north beach. i think the difference only there is the businesses there are very largement many of them are chains that have support and finance from their chinese. so, the people in north beach, the businesses in particular, are much more concerned about the possible effects in their neighborhood. and, of course, we're not scheduled for a subway stop. that's another difference. >> thank you, mr. bruno. thank you for your time. next speaker. [speaker not understood] more land, graziano [speaker not understood], [speaker not understood]. >> good afternoon. good afternoon, director rifkin and fellow board members. i'm currently the president of russian hill neighbors, and we represent over 600 households and merchants. and at our recent meeting that
ended at 9 o'clock last night, our board of directors with 30 people -- we have a very large board of directors -- unanimously voted to support option 4 at the pagoda theater. it is rare that 30 people agree, especially the 30 people with whom i'm involved. i come from a family of 45. rarely -- we have collaboration, rarely consensus. so, i've been involved with -- i've been with north beach library, so, different opinions. i respect and everyone's opinion that has come before me today, but this just happens to be what we looked at it very thoroughly as we have. it's a 30-year old organization and we've tried to take in every side of it. and like i said, we unanimously support option 4 at this time. things could change, but today
december 4th [inaudible]. thank you. >> thank you. >> graziano [speaker not understood]. my name is graziano mukasey and i run a small business in north beach. [speaker not understood] found out when it's supposed to start. and nobody ever came. nobody ever said anything to us. and when we find out, 116 people in one week signed that we were against it, 116 byness, not people, business. so, now we're at the point * [speaker not understood] not only do we have the business, and they want to dig a huge hole in the middle of columbus avenue and union.
now, i ask the last meeting, i asked the last meeting, why section 1 have to be done after 2, 3 and 4, can't pick any of those? they said, well, that's what you need. you need a station in north beach so more people coming in. when the station going to be done? it's not even on the books. it's not even -- money, nothing. 10 years from now, 15 years from now? this is 1989 to 2012 to be starting. when the station north beach going to be? there's no money, there's no plans, there's nothing. i'm going to be retired. i'm not even going to make it work. my business is going to go down. they're not going to listen. i asked mr. funge to talk russian. he told me that's what we need. he stationed north beach. what is the plans? where is the money? there is not a plan that can be done. it can be the business, it can
be the machine underground. pagoda [speaker not understood], fine. but number one, we all vote last meeting, it was no, absolutely not. that's north beach, that's us. the chinese community said no. so, thank you very much. you make your decision better than the one they do. >> next speaker, please. >> kathleen dody, maria [speaker not understood], and [speaker not understood]. >> good afternoon. hi, kathleen dooley. i'm here speaking today as a representative from the north beach business association and chinatown cdc. we have written a joint letter that i'd like to read to you today in support of option 4. the chinatown community development center is a proud long-time supporter of the central subway. with the north beach business association, we endorse the concept of an extension to north beach and fisherman's
wharf. we support director reiskin's proposal to study extraction of the tunnel boring machine at the pagoda theater with an alternative of behring the tbm under columbus avenue. we also support the mta's efforts to plan for a station at the pagoda theater and additional stations to and from fisherman's wharf. this will create a north-south connection that serves the eastern edge of san francisco, connecting important neighborhoods and communities. the north beach business association, we have over 80 members in north beach would like to add a few more comments, which is, we would like to see the excavation in a new station at pagoda palace, but we want to make it clear that we do not support this idea if it involves any spot zoning that would allow the owner to build higher than the 58 feet which is currently permitted as a maximum height allowed at that site. we also want to state that any
other possible location for a station would need to be chosen only up to the entire community was involved and exhaustively vetted sites. needless to say we would oppose [speaker not understood] washington square park in any way as a location for any station or the staging for a station in another location. [speaker not understood] enormous economic disruption done to small business during the construction of the 3rd street line. and the many store fronts that remain empty after independent businesses were forced out. please choose option 4 today. >> thank you, ma'am. okay, next speaker, please. >> [speaker not understood], don [speaker not understood]. >> good afternoon. [speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood]. they started utility work in august. i had one customer walk in.
it's just me. we [speaker not understood], it's not union. so, [speaker not understood] day one. the last meeting we both are number two and it's not on the table. we with 90 people. deception, from day one, a lot. the day i met you guys and the engineer [speaker not understood]. i am so sorry how we can trust people to say they will not cut the tree and they cut all the trees on columbus. they said they will not put the machine in front of business and they did that. we are small mom and pop shop. i'm not sure why we vote for something, and now we go to something else. i would like to take the board consideration. we are all majority immigrant. i'm from italy. i love america. i come here, the american dream. imus us citizen, i love this. and i built, i constructed something from nothing, seven years. i'm one of the few woman business owners. most of them men. we are good neighbors. we love each other, we help each other. you're going to make this
disappear and you don't really care. and i see that and i feel it. the utility work damage us from august. august is the busy month. we didn't see anything. please choose well. we are a mom and pop shop. we are very business. we work, we are family. how we can continue to support our family? we work 17 hours a day. how many i have to work? please don't let come up and see people. we're going to clean your window. you insult my intelligence right now. so, please watch us, calm us, support us, but don't do excavation in north beach. thank you very much. >> thank you, ma'am. next speaker, please. >> mary helen lowly, don [speaker not understood], barry toronto. >> good afternoon. good afternoon, i'm [speaker not understood]. i'm a resident of north beach. and i want to say a quick thing about comparing this to downtown to north beach to the disruption. as you know i'm sure, north beach has lots of restaurants with outdoor seating.
the mess and the noise would [speaker not understood] anybody outside. i hope you're getting it. there is a lot of fear what the first option would do to the neighborhood, to small business owners there. they will not recover if they're having a difficult time already. and also i know you're hearing a lot of different ideas, opinions and i guess that's democracy, messy, but that's the way it is. but i think the one thing that is consistent and unanimous to north beach is that nobody wants that first option, the excavation on columbus and union. or i think if that's the one you end up doing, i think there are a lot of problems. it will unite our neighborhood in a way we may not always be unite and had adjoining neighborhoods as well. it's just so damaging for the people who are trying to make a living there and the people who live in the neighborhood, too. and i'm also very concerned
about this february 1st, this important arbitrary deadline. it seems to me this is very important. and i just think that -- i would hope that all of you and i can imagine you want some time to look into this and not feel that you are rushed, too, because it's so important. and the impact of what is going to happen to future development, [speaker not understood]. but i'd hate to see this rushed by some arbitrary february 1st deadline. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> dan [speaker not understood], [speaker not understood], [speaker not understood]. >> good afternoon, sir. good afternoon, commissioners. my name is dan makiarini. i'm a long-time merchant and my family is a long-time merchant in north beach. my father opened his store in the fall of 1948 and we are the the longest ongoing design house and production studio for modern jewelry and small sculpture in the united states at this time.
i work with my daughter, proudly have, a family business. part of the reason there is so much interest in this project at this time is that this work was not done years ago. the process by which we arrive at how we do an infrastructure project that does not disrupt small business in a way that it runs it out has been inverted. any option that you vote for today that involves digging a hole in the middle of a main thoroughfare anywhere in this city, particularly on columbus avenue, will destroy small business. even option 3 should be looked at very closely because there is an access shaft that is being proposed in the community meeting. no one was really clear about how long it would take to have it. no one was really clear about how big it would be. or how long it would be there. if you block a main
thoroughfare, not only will you destroy businesses in north beach, but one of the reasons that the chinese community housing people have come up with support of this, you will disrupt business all the way into chinatown, all the way into lower grant avenue, all the way on stockton street. strongly urge you to do something with the pagoda palace because then you can do something that is really more key that would actually make a stop people would go to because they want to go to the subway stop which would be an amazing development. but don't do anything that allows a hole right in the middle of a main thoroughfare in any part of the city. >> thank you. as a native san franciscan, also merchants association, i support the previous statement. >> thank you. >> barry toronto, roland salvato, denise dan. >> good afternoon. good afternoon, barry toronto. i figured i'd join these list
of speakers considering i have an italian last name. anyway, i want to let you know that cab drivers taking people from the downtown hotels, south of market hotels, take people's recommendations to north beach and fisherman's wharf restaurants. what you're saying by making traffic miserable on columbus avenue, i think cab drivers are going to stop recommending these establishments in these areas because it will be too hard to get to. and it sounds like you really need some environmental work done before you go ahead and close off any part of columbus avenue, even one lane. where are we going to drop off the passengerses at the restaurants? at the bars? at the night clubs? you know, this is a problem. and i think until you resolve -- create some mitigation
measures, solve these issues, you're not ready to bring any option forward. and, in fact, as listed here you can only deal with these two options. i think option 4 seems like the one everyone likes, but at the same time, i think an e-i-r is required. i'm very big on e-i-rs because particularly in north beach, because where can people go to get diverted from traffic? you go into the hills. you're going to see a lot of cab drivers and private citizens going into the hills or clogging some of the chinatown streets to get to north beach or to find parking in north beach, or people to be dropped off in north beach. so, i think you have to deal with -- you're forgetting that these small -- the difference between union square and north beach is that union square closes by 9 o'clock at night. it's dead. and you want to go out to eat after a movie, after a concert, you go to chinatown -- outside
chinatown and north beach, it's not going to happen and people are going to go out of business. >> thank you. next speaker. >> roland salvato, denise dan, john bollinger and [speaker not understood]. >> good afternoon. hi, roland salvato. thanks, directors. some mistakes are very expensive, and i'm afraid that's what's going to culminate here because there are and there have been a few mistakes beginning with things that are obvious in the documents that have been circulated. so, for example, the brief description written by i suppose the director describes community meetings that were held back in august. was there something obviously incorrect about that? because those community meetings didn't take into consideration a lot of the concerns that you're hearing now. if that's true that those community meetings were more than just an up and down vote, that it says later in the same document whether to approve the project or not, that's on page
3, then obviously you would have heard these concerns sooner. you would have heard the concerns of the north beach people a lot sooner than now. and that's why you're having lawsuits. so, that's what i mean by an expensive problem. second of all, as a few people have mentioned today, i'll probably be the fifth person to say that i think this, you know, proclamation is insulting the intelligence of everybody who has come here today because it puts an onerous deadline of february 1st on doing what the director says, "if neither alternative can be accomplished by february 1st" that means get an e-i-r. that means, here it is -- "requires that additional local funds be appropriated, that review environmental review be approved." are you joking? that's never going to be done by february 1st. you're making fun of people when you suggest it will be and this proclamation needs to be
kicked back. it's full of flaws. so, personally, whether it's option 2 or option 4 isn't as important as the process by which you arrive atlasening to what people have to say and having the integrity to get it right. thank you. (applause) >> denise [speaker not understood], john bollinger, francis gore man. >> good afternoon. * gorman please just start. is this on? i guess it is. okay. i'm denise [speaker not understood]. i'm with save muni.com. and i rely heavily on public transit system, our public transit system. and i fear because of this ill-advised project, public services will be diminished and fares will increase, and this has not come up at all that i
know of, not at this meeting or other meetings. what are we going to do in the future when we can't get around the city with public transit and that train system is just a big boondoggle? i also fear what the 1906 earthquake could not do to destroy chinatown, this project will. and my favorite place to go is north beach. and i'm just horrified to think that i will not be able to access some of those wonderful restaurants and bakeries that are there because of the disruption of this construction. thank you very much. >> next speaker, please. >> john bollinger, followed by francis gorman. those are the last people from whom i have speaker cards. >> okay. >> good afternoon, mr. bollinger. good afternoon, mr. chairman. my name is john bollinger, i'm the president of the telegraph hill dwellers. i'm here today to make two points.
number one, in conjunction with the north beach neighbors, i just passed around a letter that our two organizations have been very involved in this [speaker not understood] to director rifkin, and really want to make the point, i'll read briefly from the letter, we are actually very excited that this process has begun to come a long way, but we're very concerned with today, you've heard from others, is that the deeds make the words. we're much more concerned with reality in neighborhoods in north beach than we are with rhetoric. and the rhetoric is good. our letter reads, we are please today see your comments, director reiskin in the chronicle yesterday stating that the mta is now "ready to abandon the plan to dig up columbus for the unnecessary and disruptive central subway destruction that damaged north beach. muni also no longer favors digging up the street. this is very welcome news. the letter goes on to say and you heard today, that's not what your plan is to vote on today. you're planning to vote on a resolution that unless you delete the language states that if the director of
transportation by february 1st determines that option 3 or 4 is not feasible, et cetera, the muni board of directors directs the central subway program to continue to construct the retrieval shaft for the boring machines on columbus as previously approved. this is absolutely unacceptable. and while we are glad to hear the promises and the resources devoted to making other options happen, unless you delete this language, i think your attempt to rebuilding trust with the community in north beach is going to be shooting itself in the foot. we, of course, would prefer that you also include option 2, which at least is another alternative if the others don't work out, that we would not require further environmental review and would save money. but we implore you today to begin fresh by taking off the table for once and for all with your vote today the clause in this resolution that allows you to move forward in the plan because it is absolutely unacceptable to north beach. thank you. >> francis gorman.
mr. chairman, that's the last person who has turned in a speaker card. if there is anybody else who wishes to speak, you could please turn in a speaker card. okay, thank you very much. i have been a tour guide in san francisco for the last 15 years. i am a member of the san francisco tour guide guild, but i'm not speaking on their behalf because we are all independent. however, i had done walking tours in north beach, so, i'm familiar with that and they've been my most successful people. love the area. as a matter of fact, [speaker not understood] has been a lovely stop there. but i haven't gone through that neighborhood, but i can imagine what she's going through. whenever you open a magazine and the san francisco travel is promoting the city, they're promoting all our neighborhoods. i also conduct tours for folks in motor coach to get from one side of the city to the other. please keep in mind that columbus avenue is a major artery. when i take us around the city and i need to move around in
three hours so they can go on to something else, or four, that i simply cannot afford to eliminate all of north beach and hie because my only route is columbus avenue, unless i go by van ness. and particularly with the america's cup coming in, we'll have embarcadaro traffic. so, as you know; as the neighbors know, russian hill is not an option really because our motor coaches are limited on that hill. so, you simply will eliminate sites like lombard street and the famous north beach, going along through the real chinatown of stockton which to me is the real chinatown. they can walk along grant but they have no way to do that and that will be eliminated if you use the proposed option, which is to dig in the center of columbus avenue. thank you very much. >> howard wong followed by susan mccull ac and those are the last two members of the public. good afternoon, howard wong with save muni.com.
i'm a native of north beach and a lifelong muni rider. i agree that the resolution language needs to be amended so that it's much stronger in purposefully assuring that there would be no large digging and construction on columbus avenue. i think that the options are not only possible, but they're engineering architecturally very plausible. the option 2 that many people have mentioned may have some other benefits that you may consider. as you know, the central subway project has increased in price steadily over the years. the 1.58 billion dollars that it currently is at, according to the pre-ffga risk evaluation that was created by mta and the
fta does indicate that there is a probability of a cost increase. there are many large infrastructure projects. in fact, there have been studies of large infrastructure projects that indicate that almost all large infrastructure projects go over budget. and there are many reasons for that. they're not always engineering architecturally related. they're often political. there aren't many other factors. option 2, it's already the existing project and e-i-r. the tunnel variance in north beach was a option that was really not vetted in the e-i-r process because it was not very seriously considered at the time. the north beach merchants and residents are very justified in their anger because, indeed, they were not given much information about that issue.
so, consider option 2 and stronger amendments to the resolution. >> thank you, mr. wong. >> susan mccull a. it's the last person who has turned in a speaker card. * >> good afternoon, ms. mccull a. good afternoon, susan mccall a, current vice president of north beach neighbors. john read the the official letter we have in partnership with telegraph hill dwellers, so, i won't repeat the information that is in there. i just want to reiterate that we have been very concerned about the impacts that the current option would have on the businesses and we have been very concerned about the, what we felt was the lack of public outreach in the past. over the last couple months we have been working with mr. funge and mr. reiskin and also representative david chiu's office to improve public input. [speaker not understood]. we didn't have a chance like russian hill dwellers to have a vote on the current option of the pagoda theater, but i do want to comment we have been working for years to try to get
something into the pagoda theater and get [speaker not understood] off the street. not off the street, but just improve that. so, i think working to really come up with a plan that is going to help mitigate some of the impact to our businesses because we want to see those businesses thrive. >> thank you very much. so, i guess that will be continued. okay, one more speaker, that's it. >> actually, he's already spoken. [inaudible]. >> last speaker. >> giovani [speaker not understood]. i'm a small business owner in north beach. and for a long time lot of the tourists they always tell me how beautiful is san francisco. this is not los angeles. los angeles needs a subway, we don't. people love to walk north beach, chinatown, because
that's what they come for in san francisco. fisherman's wharf. so, my concern is we're going to be out of business and the city is going to need more revenue, which it's not going to get from us. if we need to have people walking around, look at each other, and see our coffee shops, our restaurants, how beautiful san francisco is. the best thing they can do for us is to pave the streets, clean the sidewalks, give us a hand to beautify more of north beach, not dig it up like rats. i don't like subways. i like the fresh air, the sun, the stars, the beau pi of san francisco. * beauty that's all i need to say. >> thank you very much. the public hearing is closed at this point. members of the board, i have several items i would like to raise here at this point. and i think the first would be
the overall thing has been said and i agree with this completely. i'd love to see us go to north beach and fisherman's wharf and the pledge efforts to begin to look at that. there are obviously questions of financing and all of that. but it is certainly worth weill to go. i'm not sure about the suggestion to sauselido. that may be beyond our means at this point. the other two would be a wonderful way to connect the entire city. and i'll also talk a little about the timeline. i think i agree with the notion of changing the resolution to bring it back to the board before the director of transportation makes the final die significance. i would suggest that the language be something along the lines of the second meeting in january which should be the third tuesday in january -- >> no, it would be january 15th or the next regular meeting would be february 5th. >> i think before, i think before that, there is so much interest in this, i think it's very reasonable to request 3
and 4 may not work in the public forum it seems to me. i would support that. i would hope board members do as well. and i would hope that the 3 seems like very reasonable options to me at this point, especially 4. i hope that works and i hope we're doing everything we can to make that happen as expeditiously as possible. we'll get reports back to the board in a periodic basis. they don't have very many meetings between now and then. just to get a sense of where it stands so the public will know. so, those are the comments i'd make. i also think the comments about how north beach is different from union square, that's persuasive, different kinds of business, different kinds of support from corporation, all that kind of thing. so, those would be my comments. i'll open it to members of the board. director heinicke. >> i have a question, which is based on these presentations and the goal of extending the project further north and the goal